Late at night in mid-January of 2017, when we still lived out in the country at Crooked Acres, I heard the sound of a loudly yowling cat on our front porch. I got up and went to see what was going on, and as I opened the door, a small orange tabby burst out of the bushes by the front porch and ran away. I called for him, but he was GONE. I figured he’d wandered off from another house nearby, and thought no more of it.
A week later, as we were getting ready for bed, Fred told me there was a strange cat out in the side yard, and there was the very same orange cat.
None of the neighbors knew who he was, and it seemed obvious to us that he’d been dumped in the area. The plan was for us to foster him through Challenger’s House and then adopt him out, but when he was tested we found out he’s FIV positive. We were initially still going to try to adopt him out, but he was such a sweetheart and got so attached to Dewey that we decided he should be ours.
The vet estimated him to be about 6 years old, so we set his date of birth at 4/15/11, which makes him about 8 1/2. We named him Frankie pretty quickly, and we nicknamed him Franklin Beans shortly thereafter.
Not long after that, he started having problems with his mouth, and the vet diagnosed him with stomatitis. He had about half of his teeth removed, and then went back a few months later to have the rest removed. He’s still got a few teeth left in the front of his mouth, but although removing teeth often cures a cat of stomatitis, it didn’t fix his problem. He was on steroids for a little while, which helped with the inflammation, and now he’s on Atopica (cyclosporine) a few times a week, which seems to have it under control for the past couple of years.
(You might be curious about his FIV status and whether we’re concerned about him transmitting it to the other cats. We’re not – it takes a very deep bite wound to transmit FIV; Frankie isn’t aggressive (though he’ll hiss and smack if the need arises) and he’s got like 4 teeth. We’re not concerned. Health-wise, he’s doing well, has no problem eating, and is a happy boy.)
I always say that orange tabbies are the surfer dudes of the cat world, and that does a pretty good job of describing Frankie. He’s no pushover, but it takes a lot to get him riled up, and he’s more likely to walk away from a kerfuffle than to start one. His close friendship with Dewey seems to have faded away for reasons we can’t figure out – they’re fine around each other, but don’t seek each other out – and Frankie is now buddies with Jake. He and Jake can often be found play-fighting, and Frankie’s signature move is to try to put his back end on Jake’s head.
Frankie loves his people, and loves to be petted and snuggled. He allows kisses and hugs, and if I get up in the middle of the night for any reason, he’ll often follow me back to bed, snuggle up against me as close as possible, and purr like crazy. He’s got super soft, silky fur. His little face cracks me up, because he always looks so serious and sullen, like a bratty teenager who isn’t getting his way (and even though that’s the face he’s making, he’s purring and kneading and giving us the blinkety-blink eyes of love. He’s not a brat, he’s just drawn that way.)
I can’t say I’ve ever really noticed his reaction to foster kittens – I think he mostly ignores them, if they get too close to him he’ll hiss, but he’s not terribly worried about them and also not terribly interested in them either.
Fred gives all the cats treats at bed time, and that’s Frankie’s favorite time of the day. He has many favorite places to snooze, and will spend his days moving from one spot to another, though some days he curls up in the hammick scratcher in the corner of my bedroom and just snoozes the day away. As Fred says about all the cats at one time or another, Frankie’s one of the good ones.
Archie showed up in November 2014. He was skittish at first, but Fred spent a lot of time working with him, and it wasn’t long before Archie decided we were okay.
It was initially our goal to have him as an outdoor cat, with plenty of shelters to keep warm. I was reluctant to bring him inside because we had recently added a new permanent resident, and a couple of the other cats were reactive by spraying a lot. As sweet as he seemed (HA), I didn’t want to add to the stress by bringing another new cat inside.
By the time Archie was tamed and I got serious about finding him a home, Fred had gotten too attached. I put my foot down and said that I was okay with making him, basically, a barn cat but he was NOT coming inside the house. Fred agreed, and we settled in just fine.
One day I walked into the laundry room (which was located on the back of our house; there was a cat door from the back yard into the house that our permanent residents used to get in and out during the day) and Archie was standing there looking around. I picked him up, carried him out of the back yard and put him down. A little while later, there he was again. Fred spent the entire weekend trying to make it so Archie couldn’t get over the fence into the back yard (and then into the house.) He’d see how Archie was climbing over the fence, erect a barrier, and we’d congratulate ourselves. Then 10 seconds later Archie would walk into the laundry room.
After two solid days of trying to stop him, we gave up. Archie became a permanent resident with inside privileges, and although none of the other cats could escape the back yard (at that house, we had an electric fence, and the cats wore collars), Archie pretty much had the run of the property.
There was surprisingly little pushback from the other permanent residents, but I guess they’d gotten accustomed to seeing and being around Archie over the course of the few weeks after he first showed up.
We have no idea where Archie came from, but just like Frankie, we’re pretty sure he was dumped. He’d clearly been inside a house before – the TV didn’t bother him, nothing about the house bothered him, and he’d obviously been around people.
The vet decided he was probably about 2 years old, so we set his date of birth as 1/1/13. That makes him nearly seven years old.
Archie has a very low tolerance for just about anything and can go from zero to 60 in an instant. He loves to be petted, and then he doesn’t, so he walks away hissing. He doesn’t mind fosters approaching him until he does, and then he hisses. He haaated Stefan (who we lost in the summer of 2018), and Stefan would just be sitting there minding his own business and Archie would be like “Look at THIS idiot, sitting there acting like he owns the place. GOD I hate him.” He’d hiss and growl at Stefan, and Stefan would just be like “Whatever, dude.”
Archie is all talk and no action. He talks a good game, he has QUITE the potty mouth, he growls, and when it comes down to it, he stalks away hissing. He looks and sounds scary – when he’s upset, every muscle in his body is completely tense – but he has never once attacked any of the other cats (aside from Stefan, and that was only a few times), and I can pick him up and move him when he’s having a fit, and he’s never ever scratched me.
If I were a dish towel, though, I’d be in sad shape. Archie’s favorite game is to pull down dish towels, bunny kick them into submission, and then walk away feeling satisfied.
2018: “Lady, you gots a lot of shower products,” says Clutch judgmentally.
2017: So, today: Alice!
2016: No entry.
2015: They are just the sweetest little things!
2014: This displeases Madame, who hissed at them when she realized they were exploring.
2013: “Whatchoo talkin’ ’bout, Willis?” Adriana demands.
2012: That’s Pearl (formerly Dandelion) and her brother Duke, all snuggled up for a nap.
2011: It starts with someone who’s no longer around (Mister Boogers) and ends with someone who’s no longer around (McLovin’, our very first rooster).
2010: No entry.
2009: “Lady, it has not escaped my notice that when you’re around, chickens fall from the sky. I’ve got my eye on you.”
2008: No entry.
2007: No entry.
2006: Two things about our country cats I have learned
2005: No entry.